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The Horniman Museum

I thought perhaps you might be interested to hear about a place I visited recently –  the Horniman  Museum in London. I was there specifically to meet with Aquarium Curators  to discuss an important amphibian conservation research collaboration but also got the opportunity to check out their new Aquarium.  

Apart from Manchester, there are very few Museum’s in the UK who maintain live amphibians. However, the Horniman, which has recently upgraded all its live displays, is now another which does.  It’s many years since I last visited the Horniman  – and what a difference the new Aquarium development has made to the place. It has been completely re-done and, apart from fish, it now includes live displays of amphibians, corals, and even Jellyfish. It is really wonderful, and following our productive meeting I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the new facilities by the Aquarium Curator and his assistant James. Both these guys are so knowledgable and enthusiastic about the work they are doing at the Horniman that it was a real pleasure to spend the afternoon in their company. One of the amphibian exhibits that particularly caught my eye was one which focused on British Pond Life (pictured above). This was a  super exhibit with species displayed together on full public view. If you would like see more of this exhibit please see the video clip in the updated ‘Live’ section of the blog.

In the ‘Live’ section you can also see other videos of Aquarium Curator Jamie Craggs, who has been hugely instrumental in transforming the place, explaining to me his own interest in jellyfish and his passion for coral conservation.  One of their main current aims is to develop and study the reproduction of native jellyfish in captivity and due to Jamie and his assistant’s skills, the Horniman is now leading the way forward in this area within the UK . 

The Horniman Museum was actually one of the very first places to ever display aquatic exhibits to the public and its history dates back to Victorian times when pioneers such as Philip Henry Gosse were in their heyday. Today, the Horniman proudly acknowledges its roots and even has a replica of Gosse’s Aquarium on display. I would highly recommend anyone visiting London with any spare time on their hands to pay a visit to The Horniman, which is only about a fifteen to twenty minute train journey from London Bridge.     


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